Guggul: one of Ayurveda's most endangered plants

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It takes at least seven years for each of the thorny guggul plants to grow enough to be harvested, but we all know that good things come to those who wait.

When the plants are ready, the farmers make small incisions in the thin, papery bark, leaving the sap to seep out and harden. This normally takes about six or seven days, when the gum is then peeled off the trunk and stored for purification.

Every single plant generates between 60 and 100 grams of sticky guggul gum – and while it may seem cruel to the plant, the sap actually helps to protect the trunk and heal the damage – similar to the properties for which the plant is renowned in Ayurveda.

We then take the resin and 'purify' it by boiling it in a decoction of Triphala (the three fruit combination of amla, bibhitaki and haritaki). Its then dried and used as an essential ingredient in our Natural Balance organic supplement.

Meet the author

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Sebastian Pole, Co-founder and Herbal Director

I’m Co-founder and Herbal Director at Pukka Herbs. As well as formulating all our organic products, I run my own herbal practice in Bath which I’ve done since 1998. I’m a registered member of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association, Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine and the Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners. All this with the aim of using the principles of Ayurveda (the ancient art of living wisely) to help create positive change and positive health. Inspired by my time in India, I love cooking a vegetarian feast and rely on regular yoga practice and herbal supplementation to keep me well. I am passionate about running a business that inspires positive change and brings the benefit of the incredible power of plants to everyone we connect with. I live on a two acre garden-farm in Somerset where I grow a rainbow spectrum of medicinal and nourishing plants for my bees and family to live from.

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